No Greater Source of Comfort
(By Hazrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullahi Alaih)
I wish to tell you something now which will make your worry enjoyable. I have already said that worry will never cease before entry into Jannat. Yes it is possible for worry to become enjoyable. This, too, is sort of cessation of worry. So I wish to put forward something which will be useful in all our actions, which will ward off negligence and at the time of worry one’s determination will be fortified. It is not something new. It is that same thing which is called in the Qur’aan at certain places Taqwa (piety), at certain places I’tisaam Bihablillah (holding onto the Rope or Deen of Allah) and it is also called Zikr-e-Ni’mat (Remembrance of the favours of Allah).
What I wish to draw attention to now is Islam, which as is obvious, encompasses all those concepts. But I will speak of Islam in another way, which very few people have observed and hence when we say, ‘Islam’ then the mind does not think about it. The reason for this is that the word ‘Islam’ is so common that its everyday sense is readily understood. Its purport, however, is not considered by anyone. If people just consider the literal meaning of Islam then they will be closer to the reality of Islam, which I wish to speak about today.
Listen! Islam literally means: to surrender. This is also called Tasleem (to accept) and this is what I wish to speak about now. The Soofiyah have termed this, Tafweez. This is the reality of Islam.
In the Qur’aan Islam is interpreted as Islam-e-Wajh which broadly speaking does not mean Salaat and Saum. Rather, it means Tafweez, i.e. to surrender oneself to Allah and to brace for every Act of Allah Ta’ala; whatever He wishes He can carry out, whatever order He gives is accepted. Namaaz and Roza are elements of this Tafweez, but they are not the whole make-up of it.
Allah Ta’ala says: “O those who have Imaan! Fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die but with Islam.” Here Allah Ta’ala intends that we should be constant on Islam, i.e. we should embrace Tafweez. We should not leave our grip of it for one moment. This is what I had earlier stated which makes worries enjoyable. But the enjoyment may not be as sweets and sweet dishes. Rather, its pleasure is like strong tasting savouries. One who is in the habit of eating strong foods understands this well. Hence the Aarifeen (those Buzrugs who recognise that everything is from Allah) are afflicted with all types of difficulties and pain but they find enjoyment in these difficulties. They understand that whatever The Beloved gives is pleasing and acceptable even though it may not appeal to one naturally. They place their desires at the altar of The Beloved’s desire.
Thus, do not think that after Tafweez one will not become worried or not be faced with irritating circumstances. Yes, there will be this difference that previously you used to become unhappy whereas now you will take it in your stride, just as one who loves strong foods enjoys himself with the burning chillies. Tears may flow from his eyes but he relishes the food.
In short, Tafweez is required in everything, be it a worldly matter or a Deeni matter. The Awliya utilize it from the outset whilst the people of the dunya adopt it afterwards. It does not mean that one should abandon strategy. Adopting a strategy and plan of action are not nugatory of Tafweez. Adopting a plan of action is also commanded by that Being whose Right demands Tafweez. Thus a person should adopt a course of action but leave the result to Allah Ta’ala. One should not formulate one’s own result. One’s attitude should be: Whatever He is happy with I am happy with.
The one who adopts Tafweez sets his sights from the beginning on Allah Ta’ala and adopts a course of action solely because of following the Sunnat and out of obedience unto Allah Ta’ala. His intention is never that the action must bear fruits. He leaves his success or failure in the Hands of Allah Ta’ala. He strives whether he is successful or unsuccessful. In all cases he is happy. A person who only thinks of success through his efforts will find his problems and worry endless. If he is faced with some problem or something against his grain he will grieve over his failure, whereas in Tafweez there is comfort.
There is no greater source of comfort in this world than Tafweez. You will search and search till you are dead-tired, but you won’t find anything in this world which is more comforting than Tafweez. Once, Hazrat Ibraheem bin Ad’ham missed his Tahajjud Namaaz. He was saddened by this. The following night he tried hard to stay awake but late during the night he was overcome with such sleep that his Fajr Namaaz also became Qaza. Now he became extremely uneasy and worried. He received Divine Inspiration: “O Ibraheem! You have seen the result of your plans, now adopt Tafweez. Sleep when We want you to sleep and stand for Salaah when We want you to stand for Salaah.” Hazrat Ibraheem (Rahmatullahi alaih) says: “I adopted Tafweez and found inner comfort.”
I saw a person who was an Aalim as well as a civil servant. After he retired he wished to devote himself to Zikr of Allah Ta’ala and spend his time in solitude. Behold the Qudrat of Allah Ta’ala! After commencing his Zikr and shaghl (a programme of spiritual-upliftment) his two sons lost their sanity. He was demoralized. Now he was occupied with looking after them. All his solitude and peace of mind were shattered. Some days he could not even engage in Zikr. But an Aarif is not disturbed in even this case because an Aarif does not decide for himself. As long as Allah Ta’ala keeps him in solitude he stays in solitude. And when Allah Ta’ala wants him to emerge from his seclusion then he is contented with it.
The actual goal is Allah Ta’ala’s pleasure. Just as that is gained in solitude, sometimes it is in service to creation. Did that person not perhaps gain thawaab in caring for his two sons who became insane? Off course he would have gained. In such a scenario his anxiety was the means for his elevation. At such a time peace of mind in seclusion would not have been beneficial to him. In fact, the thawaab received for looking after sick or mentally handicapped offspring is greater than making Zikr in seclusion. Why the worry then?
Bear in mind that worry revolves around having a mirage set for oneself and for one’s family. We all are caught up in this sickness. We cherish distant hopes. But when our hopes do not materialize then we are struck with anxiety and grief. Had we not decided on our fate, we would have never been overcome with worry. The Awliya-Ullah enjoy the most comfort and peace of mind. They are not afflicted with worry and remorse at anything because they have not decided a set condition for themselves. In fact, they happily and totally surrender themselves to the Will of Allah Ta’ala. This is Tafweez and this is what Islam is all about. This Tafweez is instructed in the Aayat: “…and do not die but as Muslims.” (Surah Aali Imraan, 102)